Study Notes on James 1:9-11

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their position [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God], and the rich [person ought to glory] in being humbled [by being shown their human frailty], because like the [wild] flower of the grass they will pass away. For the sun comes up with a scorching heat and parches the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away. Even so will the rich [person] wither and die in the midst of their pursuits. James 1:9-11 (taken from multiple translations)

Jesus is the great equalizer. The riches of His Kingdom are available to all who accept. From wisdom and doubting in the previous verses to rich or poor, our circumstances change, but God never does. The beauty in life will fade but is no less beautiful. The low and difficult times are hard, but the promise of an abundant, everlasting Kingdom is so much more!

The last part of verse 11 caught true in my heart; fading away in the midst of my pursuits is not how I want my life to go. In the midst means in the middle. I don’t want the pursuit of anything to take the place of experiencing the riches of what God gives. When I pursue Jesus, there is an intimate and powerful satisfaction that feels like a dream coming true. That feeling of desire being fulfilled is like an epic and victorious scene in a movie where a long awaited breakthrough was needed. Nothing in this world has ever made me feel that way. When He moves in my life, there is no doubt that God is in it. So, I must keep enough empty space in my life to have room for what He wants to give. In the same way, when I am brought low, I want to be like the woman who honored Jesus by washing His feet with her tears. By not staying low I would miss this beautiful opportunity. I want to walk in the low places with eyes to see others there, with humility and a servant’s heart.

Lord, take my pride and refine me. Take my cravings and fill me. Remove anything in my life that is in the way of Your purpose. Help me to make more room in my heart and my life for You. I am grateful for the beauty and also the pain. In my afflictions I am closer to You. Thank You for the hope and promise of a forever Kingdom with You. I am looking forward to seeing all things made new. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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